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Amidst Real Estate Boom, a New Tool Aims to Keep Dallas Affordable for Residents
A local Dallas community development corporation (CDC) is constructing and preserving affordable homes, with support from JPMorgan Chase, in an effort to make homeownership accessible to long-term residents.
Dallas County, Texas has become one of the least affordable housing markets in the country. Renters in northern Texas are not finding much relief, either, as rent prices have soared over the last couple of years, making the renting market just as competitive and expensive as owning a home.
Recent growth triggered real estate booms in major metropolitan cities across the state, including Dallas. For those moving from more expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles, cities in Texas are—by comparison—more affordable. But for long-time residents, the housing prices have risen much faster than the local median income, leaving many interested in homeownership vulnerable to being priced out of their neighborhoods.
“The DFW-metroplex is a booming economy. There is a steady influx of high-wage, mid-wage earners, increasing the demand for housing,” says James Armstrong III, CEO and President of Builders of Hope CDC. “We have to do everything we can to provide affordable, quality housing.”
Builders of Hope is a non-profit, multifaceted community development corporation (CDC) that creates affordable home ownership and housing options for residents working in Dallas County. Over the last 25 years, Builders of Hope has developed 500 single family homes–totaling $60 million–and three major residential subdivisions that specifically serve low-income homebuyers and participants in the local workforce.
The organization is on a mission to transform Dallas through its proprietary community development model, which includes constructing and preserving quality affordable homes, promoting community transformation initiatives, cultivating public policy and creating pathways for economic mobility. For Armstrong, this work feels deeply personal. His mother bought their first home when he started high school, and the stability helped him chart a path to roles within banking and finance—including at JPMorgan Chase, and in leadership and community development. Before stepping in to lead Builders of Hope, he also served on housing-related committees with the City of Dallas.
“Home ownership is the key to housing security and educational security,” Armstrong says. “When you provide someone with a house, you provide an economic foundation. You give them the chance to be their best self.”
JPMorgan Chase has invested $500,000 in philanthropic capital to help Builders of Hope CDC plan and implement one solution to this problem: The Dallas Neighborhoods Anti-Displacement Tool Kit. “Our commitment to Builders of Hope helps expand economic opportunity and power a stronger, more inclusive economy that works for everyone in Dallas,” says Michelle Thomas, head of JPMorgan Chase’s philanthropic efforts in North Texas. “Housing needs to be affordable, especially for our community’s essential workers–teachers, postal workers, nurses, first responders and small business owners. They keep our city going.”
The data-based Tool Kit–which was endorsed by The City of Dallas–helps identify and map at-risk neighborhoods that are experiencing rapid development; it then recommends adopting policy, programs and practices that will act as a buffer against residential displacement. Its key components include the Neighborhood Advocacy Leadership Program; the Homestead Preservation Center of Texas; home repair assistance; and Trinity West Villas, a 36-unit rental development. The goal is to create a model of equitable development in housing, as well as parks, public and academic institutions.
"The investment from JPMorgan Chase has allowed us to secure an additional $1.5 million for our community development initiatives.” Armstrong says. “This will help keep billions of dollars of wealth for Black and Brown families in the community—the kind of money that has already been lost due to the lack of anti-displacement measures."